Support Classes

Tom Jefferson is a third year student in architecture. His Materials and Methods course is more of an adjunct to his design studio than a separate class. Today he is in the process of testing a series of construction details for a design completed earlier in the semester. He has already subjected a series of structural details to a variety of loading conditions, including moving live loads, wind and seismic loading. In each case TABLET is able to simulate the action of the detail using a general purpose dynamic software program. But now Jefferson is stumped. He is trying to set up the simulation for a complicated window detail, but can’t get it to run. That is why he has sought out assistance from his instructor. An appointment was arranged and the confusing material was sent via electronic mail to the instructor’s office.

Now they are discussing the problem in the instructor’s office. Together they try a few variations, but when nothing works they try to talk their way through the problem. During the discussion they discover a possible flaw in the set up of dynamic linkages between conditions of wind, temperature and humidity. After making adjustments in the simulation they watch the computer subject the detail to a variety of weather conditions. A leak is pin-pointed as the wind rises, but is corrected easily. They decide to have some fun and see how much force it will take to break out the glass from its gasket. When the screen finally simulates the shattering of window glass the indicated wind speed is greater than hurricane force. They decide the detail is probably OK.

Earlier in the day in his Structures seminar Jefferson had examined the flawed structural connection that led to the collapse of a local pedestrian bridge. Using the same simulation program he looked for a solution to the problem. As each variation on the structural conditions was simulated he began to understand the nature of sheer forces in small scale structural elements and connections. Arriving at a solution to the problem he redesigns the connection and tests it. Later in the day he will take his solution to the school’s model shop where a computer driven milling machine will produce scaled models from high grade industrial milling compound of the separate pieces of the original and remodeled connection. These modeled elements will become part of his presentation to the seminar next week. Before completing his case study he will also subject the bridge’s entire frame to a variety of simulated live loads. The color coded deformations will appear graphically on his TABLET screen, along with the actual numeric values and the formula by which they are calculated, any of which can be highlighted for closer study.

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